Modern Goryo's Vengeance by Deviouspenguin666
You may have heard of people using Goryo’s Vengeance to put Griselbrand onto the battlefield. I’m guessing that you think of this as a kind of all-in combo deck that folds to graveyard hate or a well-placed counterspell. What if I told you that you could use this combo as an exclamation point in a deck that can also play a well-rounded, midrange game plan?
If you return Obzedat to the battlefield via Goryo’s Vengeance or Footsteps of the Goryo, your end step will feature two triggered abilities. One is the requirement to sacrifice the creature that you returned, while the other is the option to exile Obzedat to its own ability. If you do the latter (before Obzedat hits the graveyard), then they’ll come back next turn as normal. By that time, they “forget” about any Goryo’s Vengeance restrictions and they’ll stick around for good. In this way, you can spend two or three mana to get a game-winning legend onto the battlefield.
Griselbrand is just Griselbrand. Notably, this deck doesn’t feature any kind of instant-win combo. You’ll simply have to settle for winning the game after drawing an extra seven or fourteen cards (poor you!). In practice, you’ll Thoughtseize away your opponent’s hand and set up to combo again the following turn.
To fill your graveyard, you can Collective Brutality or Ransack the Lab, and you can even Thoughtseize yourself if the situation calls for it. I imagine that Egon, God of Death is used for Throne of Death as a graveyard enabler more often than as the 6/6 deathtouch.
The major breakthrough – and the reason I chose to highlight this deck – is Magmatic Channeler. In the past, I’ve seen similar strategies in the Esper colors using Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. While it’s roughly a wash between Jace and Channeler, red also gives you Lightning Bolt and Merchant of the Vale, which make for an efficient and effective package.
Combos aside, this deck can also function as a normal midrange deck with discard spells, removal and Lingering Souls. Modern decks usually don’t feature five-mana cards just to cast them normally on turn five, but that doesn’t mean that hardcasting Obzedat won’t win you games. The Ghost Council remains one of the more powerful creatures ever printed at five mana, and casting them can be a good plan when the opponent slows themselves down by bringing in a bunch of graveyard hate cards.
If you like the sound of playing complex resource management games while also having some awesome combos at your fingertips, you should give Mardu Goryo’s Vengeance a try.